December 11, 2008

watercolour landscape

Here are a couple of more paintings I completed while taking the watercolour course. The first was an exercise in painting clouds, and the second was foliage. I haven't done a lot of landscape painting, so I quite enjoyed painting these and I think they turned out well.

December 7, 2008


I haven't been doing any painting for a few days, because I have been remodelling a spare room. The room has been used for storage for all my artwork. It has been piling up, but I hadn't realized how much there was until I had to move it all out of the room.
Some of it is quite difficult to store, like this 1/12 scale room I built many years ago. It is an alchemist's studio, and the alchemist has mysteriously disappeared.

There is a map on the table, spread out for close study.

One of the bell jars on the shelf even has a little fetus. There is gold and silver spilled on the floor, and glowing coals in the brazier.

It was great fun to make but now it just takes up room.

November 28, 2008

Pumpkin face

I came across this little guy at the bottom of a box of Reeses Pieces the other day. He must have been hiding there since Halloween, and I couldn't bring myself to eat him. He now lives on my bookshelf among the other skulls where nobody will mistake him for something edible.

November 26, 2008

My 'type"

Following a link posted by one of my favorite bloggers Bluepoppy, I entered my blog into this analyzer, and it came up with this image:

It says that, according to what I have written on my blog pages, that I am a doer:
The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical outdoor activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

This is SO accurate! at least in terms of what I have written on the blog pages. Very cool!

I also did the Myers-Briggs test again, and it says I am an INTJ Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging. I AM introverted, but I DO try to refrain from judging!

It does align with the Crow totem, though - seeing a vision of the future, and helping people to get to that vision. As long as I don't have to leave my house and actually talk to people.

November 14, 2008


As I was walking to work this morning, I saw a young, attractive woman cross the street at the light. She was dressed in jogging gear and had her hair in a pony tail. She was carrying a white cane, and despite (obviously) being partially blind, she was marching along at a very good pace with her held high. I admired her strength and courage, and thought about how incredibly difficult it would be to be even partially blind. How devoid of beauty and everything that, to me, makes life worth living. I am such a visual person that any loss of sight would be devastating for me.

I know that if I lost my sight, the other senses would become stronger, but somehow, it just isn’t the same, and isn’t as fundamental to who I am.

Oh sure, I like music. But I only listen passively, and don’t get particularly engaged. I prefer silence.

I like to eat good food, but I like it even better if I can cook it myself, which requires me to be able to see.

I enjoy scent, too, and love to make my own perfumes. But crafting perfume isn’t as fully engaging as visual art.

I admire people who have learned to enjoy life without seeing. For a visual artist, that is the most tragic thing that could happen.

October 24, 2008

Studio organization

Everyone loves to get a peek into an artist’s studio, and I definitely count myself among them. I love Cloth Paper Scissor’s Studio, which also introduces me to new artists, which I always find inspiring.

The studios that are very well organized and incorporate purpose-built (read: expensive) furniture are not very intriguing, because they strike me as not feasible for me (without winning the lottery), and I don’t aspire to that kind of studio. The ones that have mountains of supplies all on display, whether well organized or not, are too overwhelming and make me think that the artist is scattered, unprofessional and no good at their art. Then there are the tiny ones that have only basic supplies that make me think that the artist is just very young and can't afford proper supplies. However, I find that I am always intrigued by the studios that have mountains of stuff that is well organized and yet has enough on display that it is inspiring. These ones seem to reflect the kind of artist I want to be - professional, organized yet still creative, ample supplies to ensure there are no breaks in creative activity because something was missing. I know that all these judgements aren't fair, and some very successful artists work on the dining room table and keep their supplies in the china cabinet, but I know that for most of us, the space we call our own, whether for creative activities, relaxation or whatever, influences us as much as we influence the space.

One certainly doesn’t need a large space to be creative, and I have had my fair share of times when I painted in the dining room or sewed on the kitchen table while someone was eating at the other end. But it takes a really comfortable place – however you define comfortable – to make one feel relaxed enough to quell the left-brain voices sufficiently to let the right-brained creativity have free reign.

Ample supplies are also critical. When I was in university art courses, living on student loans, I could never afford enough supplies, and always had to be cautious about how much I used, lest I deplete my entire supply before the basic course requirements were completed. I certainly never had enough to dabble or play or do any extra projects other than what was required to pass the course. And that caution always showed through in the final result, and my professors always had negative comments that pointed out my ‘thriftiness’. Now, I try to not look at the price, or forget what I paid as soon as possible, so I am not tempted to be miserly with my supplies. I do get a little irritated at the constant advice that artists should get rid of the stash, implying that it is some kind of psychotic illness. Sure, some supplies decay as they age, and are no longer usable after a period of time. But lots of things can be repurposed to find new life in a totally different project. And if enough time passes, it will be back in style eventually.

I don’t have the incredible stashes that a lot of people do, but I have enough that storage is still a problem. But the problem isn’t room – it is being able to find what I am looking for, whether a particular item for a specific project, or just inspiration. I go through phases when I do nothing but encaustic painting, and then one day I will see a great art doll and be inspired to do some sculpting, and I want to have the supplies available right then, before the inspiration fizzles into the mist. I often put supplies that all seem like they ‘go together’ in zip-lock bags so that if I ever figure out how to put them together into a coherent assemblage, or run across an inspiring theme, I have everything in one place. Unfortunately, the thing that makes them all seem like they go together can dissipate just the same as the initial inspiration, so I end up resorting fairly frequently. Other times I will start a project with a very well defined concept, but no idea of how to develop the concept, so all the supplies also go into a zip-lock bag until a new idea or method reminds me of the project, and I get inspired all over again.

October 21, 2008


I recently purchased a copy of Semiprecious Salvage by Stephanie Lee, and found a number of great jewellery projects that don't require a lot of tools and expensive materials. I thought I would try the bracelet last night, since I already had a lot of the materials on hand. I had so much fun that I made four - three in brass and one in silver.

October 18, 2008

Tea time watercolor

Most of my creative time has been consumed by the assignments for the watercolour course I am taking, and since the course is introductory, the assignments are all quite ugly and not worth sharing. The mixing exercises are quite useful, because I have focused on using unmixed colors in the past, and haven't really learned a lot about mixing. I also prefer pure color to mixed and more dull colors, but knowing how to mix colors is still valuable learning. However, they really aren't worth sharing. The assignments in class are also quite unimaginative and uninspiring, which for some reason seems to be the norm. Perhaps there is some teaching theory for art that says that making students paint ugly broken crap is a good teaching approach.

I finally had a homework assignment that I thought was worth sharing. It was supposed to be a bunch of boxes and plain shapes using one color, but I couldn't stand the thought of painting more crap, so I added a few interesting elements that could create a story.

September 21, 2008

Fall pictures

It is a bleak day, but the trees are putting on their fall finery, so I thought I would try to capture some of that beauty regardless of the quality of the light. It is a bit too bright, even thought it is overcast, which also means there aren't any shadows. I think I got some great pictures nonetheless.
High tea on the prairies:

September 15, 2008

creative bits - palmistry hand charm

I have been puttering with a few different things, but nothing is finished enough to share. I often get a bunch of different projects underway in the winter, and if I don't finish them by the time spring arrives, they sit until the following fall, waiting for something to pique my interest in completing them. So, I have been working on completing a suit jacket and matching skirt, removing wallpaper in two rooms, and sculpting a few doll heads. I was making one out of papier mache, but I also finally splurged on some Creative Paperclay to experiment with making a doll head using some acrylic eyes I had lying around. It is wonderful stuff, and I am kicking myself for not trying it sooner. It is SOOO much nicer than polymer clay, and there is none of the risk of having it crack as it cures and it won't get crumbly like polymer clay does if it isn't cured just right. I will post when I get something worth looking at. The clay is quite soft and maleable, so I am developing the head in stages.

As I was digging through my stash to find items that could be used for an assemblage, I came across a few items left over from a swap I did a couple of years ago. The swap required one book page to be tipped into an altered book (or bound separately, which is what I did), and a plastic bag of items to be used for additional pages, all on the theme of Shadows and Dreams. I made little polymer skulls and palmistry hands made from shrink plastic as book charms. For some reason I had a hand left over that wasn't shrunk, so I finished it up on Saturday while I was making pot stickers.

September 12, 2008


I was feeling guilty about not posting for so long (and no, the Blogging Without Obligation sticker doesn't really help) but after flipping through some of my favorite blogs, I realized that I am certainly not alone. Well, I don't know about the feelings of guilt part, but there are a lot of neglected blogs out there.

Fall is such a wonderful time of year, with curious and suprising little sensations if one takes the time to notice. In the summer, the walk down the road with the dogs is typically hot and dry, and getting into the shade is a blessed relief. In the fall, the walk is generally warm, but every so often there is a hot or cold spot that feels just like walking into a different room. The spots are always surprising and never where one would expect them. Like little bits of the earth are trying to hold on to summer as long as they can, while others have surrendered to the coming cold. Maybe that was the origination of the idea that fairies of the summer court or the winter court are walking around us, unseen but influencing us nonetheless.

I have been doing a few creative things, but mostly enjoying other people's work, and savouring the fall days. We went to Santana on Tuesday night, which was fabulous. We were in the 18th row, so we had great seats. We usually end up standing though most concerts, because everyone in front of us is standing, but Carlos played a series of slow songs throughout the evening, and each time a slow set arrived, the audience sat down and relaxed and just asborbed the music. Santana played for three hours, so we were really grateful for the opportunity to sit down once in a while. His son's band opened for him, and they were also incredible. I saw Santana when I was young, and there were no assigned seats, and the floor was open, so I managed to get stand so close I could lean on the stage. The concert was mesmerizing, and I still remember it all these years later.

August 28, 2008

Fall has arrived!

I am so glad that fall has arrived. Without a doubt, fall is my favourite season. Oh, I like summer well enough, when everything is hot and slow growing. And spring is exciting and full of anticipation because winter is over, and summer is on the way. But for me, fall is really the best season of all. The only thing I don’t like about fall is that it doesn’t last long enough.

I have a hard time getting motivated to do anything in the summer. Gardening is hot and dirty work that seems totally futile, because everything just dies in the fall. Working in the studio is counterproductive because the heat adds to the frustration and makes most activities more difficult than they should be. There are a lot more visitors, too. So summers at our house are slow and lazy and not particularly productive.

But then comes fall, and that old ‘back-to-school’ excitement provides fuel for starting all kinds of projects, from house renovations to art.

The temperature dipped low enough the other night to put the trees into hibernation mode. Not cold enough to frost, but the leaves have started to loose their color and the birds are congregating around the ponds in preparation for their annual migration. In case that wasn't enough to end summer, the temperature is supposed to dip below freezing this weekend.

Even the rain feels different – it has that ‘fall’ quality to it. There is a beautiful soft rain falling today, gentle and misty, like a west coast rain. I absolutely love the rain, and I often question why I live in a part of the country that gets very little rain. People say that my love of rain comes from its uniqueness – we love it because we don’t get it very often. But the real reason that I love the rain is that, when I was a teenager, I figured that I could complain about it and be miserable every time it rained, or I could enjoy it and be ecstatic. I chose the latter.

I can understand and (reluctantly) empathize with people who live in the city who don’t like the rain. In the city, the rain is just wet that makes your shoes soggy and your hair look bad. The scent is barely there, and it smells mostly like dust and car exhaust. But a hint of the fresh forest scent is there, if one breathes deeply enough, and how one’s hair looks can’t be that important, can it? Really?

Although I totally enjoy walking in the rain in the country, where the smell is so strong it is almost overpowering, and the rain transforms the light so that every view is magical, I also take every chance I get to walk in the rain even when I am in the city. I carry an umbrella, but I seldom open it, unless the rain is pouring down so heavily that it will ruin my clothes. I don’t really care if my hair gets plastered to my head, or my shoes get soggy and wet. I would rather focus on the joy that rain brings to the world as each precious drop falls to quench the thirst of a plant or a bird, to wash away the dirt and grime accumulated through the sunny days, and to replenish the ponds and creeks that support the pockets of wildlife trying to survive despite mankind’s greatest attempts to exterminate them all.

I have been spending the summer gathering ideas and inspirations, and now that fall is finally here, I feel all that September excitement and motivation coming with the rain. Time to dig out the paint supplies!

August 21, 2008

School and new ideas

I finally decided to register in the fine arts certificate program at the local university. I struggled with the decision for a long time, because the university art world is so stifling and arrogant and stuffy. I thought that it might help with making connections, or that it might help with making me feel more confident of my skills, or it might help me find a genre or medium that I could stick with. The problem is that the certificate program is only offered for painting, watercolor (which is somehow different than painting!) or drawing. In the end it was the desire to get some structured and consistent practice with both painting and drawing that made the decision for me. I am looking forward to the regular practice and perhaps a bit of advice and direction as well.

I recently stumbled on a new art genre called steampunk that has given me a huge burst of inspiration. I have always loved the Jules Verne fantasies, and we decorated our home with themes to try to evoke that feeling of being on the exciting edge of a new world. Who knew that other people had similar ideas and that it actually had a name! I have been reading and researching and spending all my time looking at other people's art work, gathering inspiration and ideas. I have a kernel of an idea about what I am going to do with that glass hummingbird feeder that dripped syrup all over the porch, and the brass finials I was saving for just the right art project, but I can also see that it is going to take some really creative scavenging before I can get very far.

I have also been making art dolls, although I don't have any finished enough for pictures. Soon.

August 18, 2008


I took quite a few photographs of my granddaughter on Saturday. She vogued and directed, telling me how I should be taking the picture. She went through a variety of fashion-type poses, and then moved on to a mini-movie, complete with script for both of us. She is four. It was hilarious. None of the shots are great and worth sharing, but it was clear that she has a strong drive to create that hopefully won't get squashed before she grows up.

Here is one of her and her little sister.

August 12, 2008

Chypre kit

It ws my sister's birthday in June, and I decided to put together a little perfume making kit in her favorite fragrance. Of course, that meant that I had to research the history of chypre and decide on the most representative combination of essential oils that would smell like the one she remembered. I ordered them online, and of course one of the key ingredients was back-ordered. When it finally came, I decided I couldn't just send them out in the same ugly bubble-wrap that they came in, so I created this bit of packaging to make it into a whole kit. I started with a wooden purse box form from Michaels.

This is the inside without anything in it. It is painted a flat black with gesso and there is a small turquoise scarab fixed to the top.
This is the inside when it is filled with the kit contents. I didn't have any way of packaging the contents so it would fit with the theme of an antique kit I was going for, so I used raw wool roving as padding.

This is the outside of the box. Hopefully she will understand why it took so long.

August 8, 2008


I haven't posted for quite a while, but mostly because the creative activities have been writing and not visual arts.

I have wanted to take pictures of my granddaughter and my dog illustrating the Red Riding Hood story for a while now, because Gwen would make a perfectly sweet Red. However, the story is gross and doesn't make any sense. It finally hit me a couple of weeks ago that I could retell the story from a different point of view. It was clear, once I came to that realization, that the story everyone knows was told by the 'hero', the woodcutter. But what if he was actually the villain in the story, and lied to his buddies to cover up his involvement? Doesn't that explain a lot?

And maybe the same could be said of other fairy tales - maybe Hansel and Gretel were spoiled and greedy teenagers who ran away from home and imposed their snotty selves on a kindly widow living in the woods.

Anyway, I wrote the first story, and it turned out quite well. At least, I think so! I think I will try to do a few more, and I am hoping to take the pictures later this summer. I will post the images when I do.

July 15, 2008

Create with yellow

I spent an hour or so in the garden taking pictures yesterday. I thought this one would be a nice inspiration for days when there is no sun.

July 14, 2008

Encaustic painting

I have been entertaining for the last week, so I haven't had much time for art, but I did get the opportunity to teach a private lesson in encaustics, and this is the result:

I think she did a great job! I also had the opportunity to give some watercolor lessons to my eight year old neice. I bought her a set of watercolor paints and a book with good quality paper, and she had so much fun painting that she wanted to paint every minute. It made for a great week of art, even if it was other people doing the art.

July 6, 2008


It is amazing how a bit of rain can turn the most routine activity into a wonderful inspiring event. I usually don't take the dogs for a walk in the rain because neither of them like the rain and they always prefer to be inside when it rains. But this morning, it started to rain just as I was putting on their leashes, and once that promise is made, there is no going back.

We followed the same route we always take - a mile trek down the closest range road to the highway and back. Usually the walk is boring and smells of cow dung, and I spend the time thinking about work and ignoring the drab scenery. But I love walking in the rain, and it makes everything look so magical. It poured for the first couple of minutes, and then it softened to a gentle drizzle. It created a soft mist on the distant trees, and washed the flowers in the fields so the pink and purple, yellow and white stood out on the lush green backdrop of the fields.

As we walked, we were chaperoned by a little wren, who flew from fence post to fence post, watching us and trying to determine whether we were safe or not. A whole family of swifts were perched on the wires, and a heron was hunting for fish in the pond that ordinarily seems bereft of life. All the wildlife that normally hides from human predators or finds shelter from the heat of the day under trees that make them invisible to me were out in the rain, taking advantage of the brief relief from the heat of the sun.

Most people seem to avoid the rain, as though the water is poisonous. People think that if they get wet, they will catch a cold or get sick somehow. They dress up in cumbersome gear and run from shelter to shelter, to avoid getting touched by the rain.

I love the rain. When I was young I decided that I could either hate the rain and hide indoors like most people, or I could embrace the rain, and experience a world that most people miss out on. I chose the latter. I forget sometimes, and get too focused on day to day drudgery to stop and smell the rain, but when I lift my head and take a deep breath - oh how glorious it is! The rain brings out the smells of poplar and pine, and creates a heady frangrance that makes one stop and just smell.

Take a moment to walk in the rain. Look at how the rain washes away the dust and grime and leaves everything sparkling and fresh. The colors of the leaves and grass and flowers are different when it is raining. Visibility is affected, and the corners are softened so that the world is a comforting place full of life and joy. Rainbows are only the period at the end of the sentence - it is the rain that forms the important part of the story.

July 1, 2008

Art and Turnovers

I have been working on a few art projects, but I have not been feeling a lot of that special kind of excitment that comes with a truly creative challenge. I think that my decision to work on more commercial forms of art may have been a bit of a mistake. I have been challenged while learning watercolors, but not really excited in the same way that I feel when working on assemblage and abstract art.

Rather than force myself to work on something I wasn't totally excited about, I decided to make raspberry turnovers instead. I made a few individual serving size turnovers, and all the filling kept oozing out the ends. I thought that it would work better to make them as one long turnover, and then cut them into servings, but they opened up while cooking and spilled all over the baking sheet. I do like the way that the two long turnovers formed this sensuous, sinuous line on the pan, and I thought it was worth a picture.

June 30, 2008

Tiara in watercolor

I finished this watercolor of Tiara this morning. The painting is 11x14 on watercolor paper.

This is the original image.

Canola Fields

I wanted to experiment with using a bit brighter color on black gessoed background. When the canola fields are mowed down in the fall, the drying plants have a variety of gorgeous colors - reds and greens and browns. The colors are brilliant but subtle, and they can't be captured on film.

Canola fields, acrylic, 9x12 canvas

June 16, 2008

Little girl

This little girl came home with us on the weekend. She is so sweet and gentle, and loves to hug and cuddle, but is terrified of the other dogs. She whimpers a lot, and misses her sibs, but hopefully she will get used to her new home soon.

June 10, 2008

abstract mountain scene

When I did the painting I posted yesterday, I was just playing with tube colors to see what the outcome would be, knowing that it would negate the depth to have pure tube color in the background. I was thinking about Emily Carr's gorgeous paintings where she used brilliant tube colors in a landscape and the effect was so stunning.

Today's painting was intended to be much more abstract - to just give the impression of a mountain landscape without clearly defining each tree and rock. The colors are more muted, and there is a much better impression of depth, but it is still not as abstract as I was going for at first. It seems to be all or nothing for me - totally color field abstract, or representational. Ah well, it is a pretty little painting even if it didn't turn out like I envisioned.

June 8, 2008

lighthouse - encaustic

This is an encaustic collage using a photograph of the lighthouse in the Boston harbour that I took several years ago.

oil landscape

I did this little oil painting this afternoon -
8"x8"x2" canvas

June 2, 2008

Dog Show

I spent the weekend at an outdoor dog show (four days!) with Tiara. She got her first point on Saturday. Nine more to go. She was very interested in meeting all the other dogs, even the ones who weren't interested in meeting her. She got bored with all the standing around, but she still behaved quite well, considering it is only her second show.

Now to get back to some art.

May 25, 2008

accidental landscape

I moved all my art supplies into the garage last year to free up some room and at the same to time organize everything and supposedly make it more easily accessible. That hasn't really worked, and I am rethinking the decision to move it out there altogether. I used to browse through my various boxes of supplies, materials, trinkets and partially completed projects as a way of getting inspiration and motivation, but that isn't as easy or comfortable to do now, which is probably why I haven't been able to get motivated lately.

I decided to make a few of my pocket shrines to put on Etsy, so I was forced to go out and paw through my boxes to find the glass medallions that go on the outside, and suddenly realized why I like having my boxes close at hand - I came back in the house with the stuff to start at least 10 new projects, and, more importantly, all kinds of the enthusiasm that I have been lacking of late.

I found this piece that I did a few years ago and couldn't throw out. I used a piece of scrap canvas to test that the squirt bottle I was going to use was working, and out came this wonderful little landscape, like a Japanese calligraphy painting. It is creased, and the canvas wasn't completely gessoed so it is two colors of white where I tried to fix it, and it is just a little scrap of a painting (6x12) that can't even be stretched properly, but I keep thinking that I will find some use for it someday, so I keep it. Maybe it will find it's way into a collage....

May 23, 2008


I loaned my umbrella to a stranger I met in the elevator yesterday, and he brought me this beautiful flower when he returned the umbrella this morning. I suppose it was a surprise to him to be offered the use of an umbrella by a perfect stranger (well, not perfect!), but I certainly didn't expect such a response!

I used the scanner to get this image, which meant that I had to hang the flower upside down over the scanner bed. The flower had one of those little water-filled tubes on the bottom, and it kept dripping water on the scanner glass, so you can see the drips on the petals at the bottom, but I didn't want to keep trying to get a perfect image and risk killing the flower.

May 22, 2008

Life returns

Two weeks ago, everything was brown and gray, just branches and twigs and dead grass, with no signs of life. Within a week, all the buds on the trees popped out, and suddenly all the trees were fully leafed. But it was still brown and drab, and everything looked like it was dying. I spent last weekend pulling weeds from the gardens, and the soil was so dry it was powdery. It finally started to rain on Tuesday evening, and has been drizzling off and on since then.

The dust is washed away, the grass is such a flourescent color of green that it almost hurts my eyes. Glorious!

The lawn still looks patchy, but it won't be long now before it is luscious again. The spring has been SO long coming, and it has been so hard to get inspired. I can feel some of the joie de vivre returning with the rain, and I went for a long walk in the rain yesterday, just to soak it into my soul.

May 5, 2008

Creek watercolor

I was paging through the North Light Books catalogue last night, and found a demo of this beautiful little painting called Main Coast morning, so I thought I would give it a try. I left out the houses that were in the original (bad planning on my part), but I like the overall feeling of the image.

April 24, 2008

Deer oil painting

I started this oil painting of a deer in the woods several months ago, and got overwhelmed by the thought of trying to paint all that green and make it look like something other than just a stippled wash. I have decided to give it a go again, but I may have to lighten the background to allow a little sky to show through.
This is the original that I am working from:

abstract landscape

I painted this little landscape a few weeks ago, and have been looking at it for a while, trying to decide how to proceed. After staring at it for a while, I have decided that it is done, and any further tinkering would probably ruin it.

It is 8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas.

April 20, 2008

Dog Show

It wasn't a particularly creative weekend, but it was an enjoyable one. We spent three days at the dog show with our borzoi. She won Best of Breed each day. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that she was the only borzoi in the show - no competition means that she automatically gets best in breed. She didn't win any prizes and the group level, so she didn't get any points for this show. It was her first show, though, so it was good practice for both of us. Here she is standing pretty.

April 16, 2008

Costa Rica Day eight

I managed to snap a picture of this spider web in the early morning sunlight just before we left the hotel. Luckily nobody walked into it.Our last full day in Costa Rica was spent travelling back to San Jose. We stopped at a road-side market where they had mountains of watermelons and other fresh fruit

We also stopped in Sarchi, which is a small town that had a few stores offering locally crafted artworks. This is a picture of the local breast screening clinic. Although the country is very poor, they have a well-established public health care system.
We stayed in a nice hotel in downtown San Jose, and went out for a festival supper at a local restaurant where there was a performance by local dancers demonstrating the traditional dances. We were all pretty tired, and since we had to get up at 4:00 am to make it to the airport in time for our flight, we returned to the hotel and bed as soon as the performance was over.

It was a fascinating trip, but everyone was grateful to return home.

Costa Rica Day Seven

We visited Manuel Antonio National Park, which is a tiny little park on the coast. It was less than a quarter section of land, but home to howler monkeys,


and lots of lizards

The park was also home to one of only two known troupes of spider monkeys in central america, although we didn't see them. After trekking though the forest, we spent the afternoon at one of several beaches. These ones didn't have rip tides and were quite safe for swimming. We had a bit of time to just lay on the beach under the palm trees and enjoy the heat and the view.

These orange-cheeked parakeets were everywhere, eating the fruit of the trees around our hotel.